May, National Bike Month, is over. To extend the momentum, we are releasing the second edition of our top 20 of the most visited active and alternative transportation websites according to Alexa Analytics scores. This ranking includes online resources for news and information about walking, biking and public transportation, professional associations and membership organizations websites. It also features a few local websites of leading organizations advocating for biking and bike infrastructure in the United States.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Its main role is to provide financial and technical assistance to state and local governments to develop and establish public transportation systems. The FTA website acts as a source of information about available grants and funding opportunities as well as a reference to the regulations and guidelines that should be observed by the grantees. In addition to project management and oversight, the FTA guidelines include safety, civil rights, and environmental requirements. The website regularly publishes news and updates about its grant programs and regulations. Additional information about the agency’s initiatives and programs can be found in its video series section.
Streetsblog Network is a U.S. news website reporting and advocating for sustainable transportation and better streets for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. Its network includes six major American cities (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, and St. Louis) in addition to a national and four state and regional portals (California, Ohio, Texas and South-East). Streetsblog multimedia partner Streetfilms is home to hundreds of video resources and clips featuring events and stories about biking and walking from around the world. The network also operates a weekly podcast series Talking Headways which discusses urban mobility and transportation issues with local and national experts and advocates. The website hosts a job board for those pursuing careers in transportation planning and related fields.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) assembles 62 city members and ten transit agencies from around the United States and Canada. NACTO supports city transportation officials and staff by sharing information, organizing events and disseminating knowledge about planning and design practices to develop sustainable, safe and equitable transportation choices. The schedule of its training sessions and workshops can be found on the website along with street design guides. The website also has a news section and a job board where employment opportunities at NATCO, city members, and other organizations are shared. NATCO holds an annual conference Designing Cities which gathers transportation city officials, planners, and practitioners to discuss and exchange ideas regarding the state of urban transportation.
Portland, Oregon is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. The city has one of the most developed cycling infrastructures, public transportation networks and is a reference for progressive transportation policymaking in the country. BikePortland reflects the city’s leadership as the most visited website solely dedicated to biking in our ranking. The website lists events, news and local stories from the city’s rich biking scene. Subscribed readers can also contribute stories, announcements and share opinions and requests. Past episodes of the BikePortland Podcast, currently on a break, are available for a listen on the website. Bike related job listings are also available for those who would like to make a career of their biking passion. BikePortland is sustained thanks to community support, subscriptions and donations and you can also support their work through one of the methods listed on their support page.
Founded in 1882, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is one of the oldest public transit organizations in the world. Its mission revolves around strengthening and improving all modes of public transportation including bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail in the United States for all users through information, education, advocacy, and lobbying. APTA members are public and private organizations, academic institutions and trade publications. Its website houses the broad range of its available resources and programs including industry standards, policy development, research reports, data and its bi-weekly magazine Passenger Transport. APTA organizes networking and training meetings and conferences throughout the year across the country for public transportation professionals. For the public at large, the organization runs Publictransportation.org, an informative and educational website dedicated to public transit and the benefits of a multi-modal lifestyle.
PeopleForBikes is a coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers, and a foundation that has been supporting biking and bicycling projects across the United States since 1999. Its website provides a full list of its projects, programs, and partnerships covering three areas: policy making, infrastructure, education, and advocacy. The organization’s flagship program, PlacesForBikes, is a spinoff of its Green Lane Project, which closed in 2016 after supporting the creation of protected bike lanes in 12 major American cities. Current programming includes the publication of most bicycle-friendly city ratings, the Bike Networks Analysis and the Big Jump Project. Their website offers resources, statistics, and data on how to design, build and evaluate the economic and social impact of bike lanes in communities. Information about available grants, charitable campaigns and on how to take action in your own community can also be found on the website for those seeking to develop biking projects or meet like-minded people. Additional news and updates about the organization’s work and its PlacesForBikes program, in addition to stories from its community members, can be found in the website’s blog.
Rails to Trails Conservancy works on turning the thousands of obsolete rail corridors into a network of walking and biking trails connecting cities and states across the United States. Its website contains an overview of the organization’s work areas and services as well as resources for communities on developing trails, trail policy, advocacy, and events. TrailBlog reports local and national news about trail development, while the Rails to Trails Magazine explores how the growing network of walking and biking routes is benefiting communities nationwide. The website has a searchable resource library as well as maps and routes for trail users. Members gain access to additional custom routes, maps, and guidebooks.
The League of American Bicyclists is one of the oldest and largest membership organizations of cyclists in the United States. It has been advocating for safe streets and places for bicyclists at the local and national levels since 1880. Its website offers information on its diverse educational and promotional programs and activities including Bicycle Friendly America and Smart Cycling along with diverse advocacy and assessment tools and resources. Additionally, The League sponsors and organizes events, online and offline, to promote cycling across the nation such as National Bike Month, National Bike Summit and National Bike Challenge as part of its Leadership Institute. The league members are individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. Among other benefits, members gain access to a print subscription of Bicycle Friendly America magazine.
Mass Transit Magazine sources industry news from a variety of public transit agencies, operators, manufacturers and other local and national media outlets and makes it available at one online address. News and updates are filed under seven categories: Bus, Rail, Technology, Safety and Security, Passenger Information, Maintenance and Infrastructure. The website also has a dedicated suppliers directory and a conference news section. Other resources include an events calendar, a career center and a list of the industry RFP’s and bids and webinars. Every year, Mass Transit Magazine features a diverse panel of 40 dedicated public transportation professionals under 40 who have demonstrated a high level of commitment and innovation in their practice. In addition to news, the website shares case studies and reports about innovations and best practices from around the country.
Another centennial organization in our ranking this year is the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). Founded and based in Brussels, Belgium, the association counts more than 1,500 public and private organization members from 62 countries. The UITP website is home to a wide range of resources located in its Advocacy & Outreach and Knowledge sections. These include publications, data, statistics and policy. Members have access to additional publications in the website’s library as well as trend reports, mobility and financing toolboxes. The organization's events include seminars, exhibitions, and training sessions, also listed on the website. UITP is involved in many research and innovation projects, especially in Europe. Its large body of experts is organized in working groups and committees tackling various public transportation themes and issues.
We would like to end this list with a mention of the Vision Zero Network website. Many communities in the United States are adopting the Vision Zero strategy to make their streets safer, accessible and equitable for all. And a list of active and alternative transportation websites wouldn’t be complete without a reference to the resources made available on the website of Vision Zero. These include case studies, reports, maps and news as well as webinar recordings and the action plans adopted by the U.S. Vision Zero cities.
What do you think of this year’s selection? We are always looking for new resources and would love to hear about your favorite online active and alternative transportation destinations. Let us know, in the comments, if you have any suggestions or recommendations to improve our ranking next year. Also, don’t forget to follow our Twitter list and to check last year’s ranking for comparison.
Credits: Cover image courtesy of Holly Hixson. Data linked to sources.